May I live and praise you! May your regulations help me! [Ps 119:175]
When we “live,” we live by faith; as the Apostle says, “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.” We live by faith when the Lord is pleased to communicate true faith, the precious gift of faith to the heart. Then indeed we believe. We then believe in Jesus, believe in his blood, believe in his righteousness, believe in his Person, believe in his dying love; and as faith begins to lift up its drooping head in the soul, we begin to live a life of faith in the Son of God. And as we begin to live, we also begin to love. When we are in darkness, coldness, and barrenness, there is neither love to God nor man; the very ways of God are a thorough misery to us; the Bible is neglected, and prayer is little attended to; under preaching we are cold, dead, and listless; the company of God’s people is forsaken, and the things of eternity seem to fade from our view.
But let the Lord revive his work upon the heart, let him bestow a gracious renewing, let him drop the unction of his Spirit, let the rain and dew of his grace fall, let him manifest himself with life and power; then the whole scene changes. It is like spring after a dreary winter; it is like the outpouring of the rain from heaven after a long season of drought, “You renew the face of the earth.” There is a blessed change when the Lord himself is pleased to appear in the soul. Then it begins to live.
And this life will manifest itself in various ways. While we are dead, prayer is a burden; when we have life, prayer is our very breath. When we are dead, the very thoughts of God are grievous; when we are alive, the thoughts of God are sweet and pleasant. When we are dead, our affections cleave to the things of time and sense; when we are alive, our affections mount upward. When we are dead, the world is our home, though it is but a miserable one; when we are alive, we are looking upward to heaven as the home of the soul when time shall be no more.